His voice is like a fire hydrant of enthusiasm, valves wide open.
“Why would you come to Big Boys Toys?” Biju Jayaraaj asks with such gusto that you can practically hear his eyes widen to the diameter of a couple of extra-large pizzas over the phone. “You come to Big Boys Toys to see products that you never knew to Google for.”
“I’m sorry,” he says shortly thereafter. “I get excited when I talk about it.”
Hey, who doesn’t get excited about virtual reality sandboxes, luxe dog collars from Denmark, artisanal furniture made of petrified wood, and $6 million hot rods?
All will be on display at the local debut of Big Boys Toys, an innovation and luxury lifestyle exhibition taking place Friday through Sunday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Launched by Jayaraaj in 2009, Big Boys Toys has been held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where the India native has lived since 1996.
This year, the goal of bringing Big Boys Toys stateside has finally been met.
“You graduate from Dubai to Vegas,” Jayaraaj says. “Whatever we see in Dubai, Vegas is 10 times more. This is the place to be.”
When Jayaraaj and Big Boys Toys hit town for the first time, they’ll be bringing a wide variety of wares, from handmade Italian guitars to amphibious aircraft to high-end art and fashion offerings.
Harley-Davidson will launch its first line of kids’ electric motorcycles at the showcase. A Ford GP40 sports car with a seven-figure price tag will be in the house. And, it almost goes without saying, the world’s only turbine-powered JB10 Jetpack from Jetpack Aviation will be there.
“More people have walked on the moon than have flown the jetpack,” Jayaraaj says of the model in question. “Can you believe it? When the exhibitor told us, I said, ‘This can’t be true.’ He said, ‘No, 12 people have walked on the moon and only four people have flown the jetpack.’ ”
While its offerings are diverse, the unifying theme at Big Boys Toys is a singular one: innovation.
“It’s a huge plan for Big Boys Toys: to nurture the innovation and take it forward,” Jayaraaj says. “Everyone should be given an opportunity. If you have opportunity, people can go places. Most of our exhibitors are not big companies. We have a research team who researches throughout the year to see what is new in the world, and we give (companies) opportunities, ‘Come showcase your product to the world, because people want to see this. This is amazing.’ ”
One such company is Vegas-based Brutus Electric Motorcycles, which specializes in custom, hand-built bikes that typically take 12 to 18 months to create.
Chris Bell, owner of the company, was contacted by Big Boys Toys several years ago to take part in the Dubai shows but could never make it work schedule-wise.
When he learned it was coming to Vegas, he was eager to get on board.
“I’ve been following them through the years, and the things they have there are really cool,” Bell says. “You’re going to get to see things that you don’t get to see every day at all the shows that are always in Vegas. I go to SEMA and CES every year, I go to all the different shows, and this show has something that’s just slightly different, slightly unique.”
The same could be said of the bike that Bell will have at Big Boys Toys.
Among its one-of-a-kind flourishes: a stingray-hide seat.
“We had to have that imported from Thailand,” Bell says. “It took quite a bit of time. You have to get releases and documentation that you’re not taking it from an endangered source.”
Starting small, dreaming big
Brutus Electric Motorcycles will be one of several local vendors at Big Boys Toys, joined by Chris O Creations, which features the metal sculptures of artist Chris O’Rourke, ion technology company Wellnex Group LLC, wireless tech outfit ConnectMe Solutions and more.
The idea for Big Boys Toys this year is to start small and grow in successive outings.
“What you’re going to see is just a teaser,” Jayaraaj says “Next year, we already have six times more exhibitors who’ve shown an interest in coming here.
“Our objective has always been to make Vegas the home show,” he adds. “We want to take this around world, but we want to make Vegas the show that we talk about.”
In other words, he wants Big Boys Toys to be a convention that doesn’t adhere to convention.
“It is a convention, I’m not saying ‘no,’ but ‘convention’ makes it sound so boring,” Jayaraaj says. “This is fun. A friend of mine said, ‘Coming to Big Boys Toys is like going to a blockbuster movie; the only difference is that you’re a part of the action here.’ This is Disneyland for grown-ups.”
If you go
■ What: Big Boys Toys
■ When: 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday
■ Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, 160 Las Vegas Blvd N.
■ Tickets: $10 (bigboystoys.com)